First Response
New office to prepare for critical events

In the wake of the tragic shootings this spring at Virginia Tech, many Emory community members wondered what would happen if such a terrible thing occurred here. The University already was well on its way to answering that question. A new Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR), announced in April, will improve Emory’s ability to deliver a coordinated and effective response to catastrophic events.

Heading the effort is Alexander P. Isakov, associate professor of emergency medicine, who began as CEPAR director May 1. The new office, which reports to President James Wagner, will integrate all relevant components in an interdisciplinary approach to a catastrophe. CEPAR also will partner with the broader community, including local, regional, and federal agencies. Its scope includes natural disasters, human-caused events, and public health emergencies.

The formation of the office was a major recommendation last year by Emory’s Avian Influenza Task Force.

Alongside CEPAR, the University will speed up its investment in communications technologies that will provide new ways of reaching students, faculty, and staff in a crisis, such as loudspeakers and text messages to registered cell phones and PDAs.

“The creation of the Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response reflects the University’s commitment to the safety and welfare of individuals at Emory and in the broader community,” said Isakov, who is cofounder and codirector of the Emory Department of Emergency Medicine’s Section of Prehospital and Disaster Medicine.



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